Kris Inglis of Riverside Market explains why the Riverside team chose Consortium Construction for their ambitious build of an award-winning $80 million development. This includes connecting laneways and a 3,500 square metre famers’ market with around 80 tenants.
Riverside Market opened in September 2019, after a five-year journey.
An $80 million development by Richard Peebles, Mike Percasky, and Kris Inglis, the team behind Little High and High Street Lanes. Riverside’s four buildings are connected by laneways and include a 3,500 square metre famers’ market with around 80 tenants.
The Riverside project is extraordinary in its scale and ambition. It’s New Zealand’s only central city farmers’ market building. Nothing like this has been built in Australia or New Zealand since the great covered Victorian era markets in Melbourne and Adelaide.
Since the doors opened, the market has averaged about 10,000 people visiting each day. It was heralded as “an instant morale boosting success,” creating energy and bringing people into the centre of Christchurch. A recent survey asked the people of Christchurch where they thought the heart and soul of the city is, and 90% said Riverside and Oxford Terrace.
We sat down with Kris Inglis a developer and owner of Riverside, to ask him why they chose Consortium Construction for this remarkable project.
“Trust, integrity, flexibility and a talented team”
“We work with Consortium Construction because we can trust them. We trust them to give us the best price. We trust them to give us good people all the way through our projects. We trust them to build us good quality within a reasonable time frame. It’s critical to have that trust with your construction company.
“Then, there’s their honesty and integrity. They have open book pricing. We see the cost of the materials and labour, individual subcontractors’ fees, the margin, and Consortium’s fees, all with complete transparency.
“They’re also amazingly flexible. Because we change designs all the time, we need a contractor that works with us to modify the price as we change the design or substitute materials.
“A lot of contractors, as soon as there’s a variation, their eyes light up because they see an opportunity to make some money. That’s not the way we work with Consortium. We have a true partnership. That’s even evident in the collaborative construction contract we use. And when we come up against problems, we work together to find the right solution.
“The Consortium team are fantastic. Brooke and Danny run a really good show. Steve Wildermoth is probably one of the most diligent QS estimators around. He’s very thorough, gets the best pricing from contractors, and puts the numbers together in a way that makes sense. Site manager Watene Pikia is a very smart, intuitive, experienced guy. He thinks deeply about the construction sequencing. He finds issues before you build, and he’s really flexible. He’s got a real eye for quality, takes pride in his work, and worked exceptionally well with our interior designer. I can’t praise him enough.”
Hearing this feedback from Kris gives us confidence in our approach. When Consortium take on a project it’s a partnership of trust. It’s not us and you, everyone has to win. And our contracts reflect that. They’re partnership agreements, everything is transparent, and we allow for flexibility.
If we’d stuck to a traditional black and white contract on Riverside, with no space to adapt to change, the project wouldn’t have worked. We’re on a journey with our clients, we want to build your vision together, and we’ll do what it takes to make that happen.
Kris shared his story of the Riverside build process. “It started five years ago when CERA amalgamated several titles on this site and requested proposals for how the land could be used. Richard, Mike, and I always argue about where the original idea of a farmer’s market came from. I think we were all looking at it at about the same time. We thought, that’s the one thing Christchurch doesn’t have … an inner-city central market.
“We put a proposal in, and it took nearly two years from first submissions through to finally being awarded the land. Once we acquired the land, we started the design process.
“We must’ve gone through a hundred different concept designs. It was all about creating atmosphere and character, so the market feels like it’s been here for a long time. Yet we also needed modern facilities and a smooth flow of people around the spaces. Then we had architectural and fire safety constraints and structural challenges. It was a lot to consider from a design perspective. Running in parallel with that, we had the resource consent process.
“The design iteration and consent process took at least a year. During that whole phase, Consortium were giving us feedback on price and making suggestions for things that could make Riverside more economic to build. We bounced ideas off them for finishes, flooring, electrical and plumbing work, and handrails, where to source recycled rimu for the ceiling, and the most economic heating and air conditioning system. Narrowing down the spec to a final design we could put a price on was a collaborative process.
“We did change elements of the design during the construction process. And again, Consortium was great to work with because some of them were quite big changes. On a project like Riverside, you need a flexible, honest contractor who isn’t going to try and fleece you. You need a partner who’s in it with you to make it all work, otherwise there’s going to be friction, you end up with disputes and unnecessary extra costs, and no one wins.
“A testament to the quality of Consortium’s work is that we really didn’t have any defects in our first year. Because of Watene’s attention to quality and detail, we only had a tiny list of things to be fixed. And in our first year of operation, we didn’t have any problems or breakdowns.
Kris explains how the Riverside team feel about the development now it’s complete.
“This has been a once in a lifetime project, and Riverside has come out close to being exactly what we wanted. You don’t often get that with a building. There’s nothing that we look at and go, we should’ve done that different. Nothing was left to chance. We wanted to get it right because it’s something we all wanted to be proud of. We’re privileged to be able to contribute to making Christchurch a more vibrant, interesting place to visit.
“We highly recommend Consortium. Get engaged with them early. Early contractor engagement, discussion, and collaboration is really important. And you’ve got to make sure you get the right people. Consortium are great guys to work with. We had a great experience with them, They’re awesome.”
Riverside is one of the largest commercial projects Consortium has built. And we’re proud we were able to achieve such a great result. Seeing the success of the market never gets old. Our office is just a block away, every day we’re down eating lunch, and it’s cool to see so many people enjoying it.
If other property developers take only one message away from the story of Riverside, we’d like it to be this; Consortium may be a relatively small Christchurch construction company with a compact team, but we’re just as capable as national contractors of producing massive projects to a high quality. We always go above and beyond. We want the outcome to be as good as you do, And we want to be as proud of the project as you are.
Before we started working with Consortium, we considered a tender because of our budget. But we decided we’d rather work with Consortium to get the price right. Our initial build costs were too high, and Consortium were really good at bringing costs down to within our budget.